Ranking The Top 10 Non-Playoff Bowl Games

The College Football Playoff hasn't diminished the importance and interest in other bowl games, and there are plenty of non-playoff matchups that fans can't wait to see. Here are the 10 most interesting non-playoff games this year:

10) Russell Athletic Bowl - Dec. 28, 5:30 pm ET
#16 West Virginia vs. Miami

WVU has an extremely explosive offense, and despite closing the season with losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, they are still a very talented team. Miami had another ho-hum season, but they certainly have the talent - and the athletes - to make this a game. 

9) Las Vegas Bowl - Dec. 17, 3:30 pm ET
Houston vs. San Diego State

This is easily the best bowl matchup between two Group of 5 conference teams. Houston has proven how good they can be, but that they're also prone to an upset - and San Diego State has the talent to pull that upset, led by Doak Walker finalist Donnel Pumphrey.

8) Music City Bowl - Dec. 30, 3:30 pm ET
#21 Tennessee vs. Nebraska

Tennessee and Nebraska were legitimate playoff contenders early in the season before each struggled mightily down the stretch. They still have talent, making this a high-quality bowl game.

7) Sun Bowl - Dec. 30, 2:00 pm ET
#18 Stanford vs. North Carolina

This game may not match the quality of Tennessee and Nebraska, but it will be entertaining. UNC's offense can score with anyone, led by quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who may very well be the first quarterback taken in the draft. This will also be Christian McCaffrey's last game at Stanford.

6) Alamo Bowl - Dec. 29, 9:00 pm ET
#10 Colorado vs. #12 Oklahoma State

Anytime you can get a matchup between two top-12 teams, it's going to be a good game. Each side is looking to legitimize themselves in some way by beating another quality team after both were blown out in conference championship games (yes, I realize the Big 12 doesn't have a conference championship game, but Oklahoma State-Oklahoma was a de facto title game).

5) Cotton Bowl - Jan. 2, 1:00 pm ET
#8 Wisconsin vs. #15 Western Michigan

You may not know a lot about Western Michigan other than they're undefeated and Row The Boat! This will be our chance to see how good they actually are - and if they can finish off an undefeated season or not.

4) Sugar Bowl - Jan. 2, 8:30 pm ET
#7 Oklahoma vs. #14 Auburn

Auburn's defense will give Oklahoma's high-powered offense a very tough test. Auburn should also be able to run effectively against Oklahoma's terrible defense, meaning that this should be a closer game than most people think.

3) Citrus Bowl - Dec. 31, 11:00 am ET
#20 LSU vs. #13 Louisville

This is easily the best non-New Year's Six bowl game. Lamar Jackson is always must-watch TV, and going up against LSU's defense will be his toughest test of the year. Plus, it's Leonard Fournette's last game at LSU. The game certainly has plenty of star power.

2) Rose Bowl - Jan. 2, 5:00 pm ET
#5 Penn State vs. #9 USC

Penn State and USC are arguably the two hottest teams in the country after bad starts, and they'll square off in what should be an epic Rose Bowl. Both teams also have big play offenses, meaning this should be extremely entertaining.

1) Orange Bowl - Dec. 30, 8:00 pm ET
#6 Michigan vs. #11 Florida State

Michigan has looked like one of the best teams in the country all season, and Florida State has as much talent as anyone in the country. It will be an entertaining, high-quality matchup between two of the biggest programs in the sport.

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